It`s no secret that World War 1 was triggered by many factors, but the most important of them all is the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Bosnian revolutionary, Gavrilo Princip. They were shot in cold blood at Sarajevo.
The truth of the matter is that the actual causes of the First World War can`t be pinned down only to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. Historians are still debating several scenarios and the thing is that there isn`t just a single event that triggered this tragedy.
Between the years 1879 and 1914 some alliances have been signed. These precautions can very well show that the countries have considered a future war since the alliances that were signed clearly stated that if war was declared, the allies should offer help and protection.
Imperialism was a great issue back then. Basically, when a country acquires new lands or takes over another country and makes it subject to its rule- that`s the definition of imperialism. The British Empire had colonies and extended its territory over five continents. France was also doing well-it occupied a lot of land in Africa. This expansion made Germany turn green with envy.
A lot of changes occurred in the military forces, too. Britain and Germany were trying to win the supremacy over the seas and the British had a very effective battleship called the Dreadnought. This made the Germans want to improve their battleships-which they did. Even the armies of France and Germany have doubled the numbers of their soldiers. Coincidence? I think not. Deep down inside, they were all preparing for war.
If that wasn`t enough, nationalism was at its peaks during those times. The Congress of Vienna tried to sort things out, letting the winning allies (Prussia, Russia, Britain and Austria) decide the fate of a new Europe. Italy and Germany were left to pick up the pieces. Germany decided to take Alsace-Lorraine after the Franco Prussian war has ended. This settlement didn`t please France too much, since the country wanted its territory back. Serbia, Austria and Hungary also wanted to gain freedom.
Two crises also ignited the desire for war: the Moroccan Crisis and the Bosnian Crisis. Britain gave Morocco to France but the Moroccans longed for freedom and independence. Germany quickly came into the spotlight, showing support for the Moroccans. War was avoided this time although the Germans protested again years later, in 1911.
The Bosnian Crisis was no different. Austria and Hungary took over Bosnia. Serbia threatened to declare war, but gave up when Russia, its war ally, backed down.